Claremore Daily Progress

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June 5, 2014

Stop Act grant to increase patrol at area lakes, parks

CLAREMORE —

Beginning Friday, the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office will increase patrol of area lakes and parks in an effort to prevent and reduce underage drinking.
Through a Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act grant, the sheriff’s office is able to provide additional patrols during the summer when lakes and parks are the busiest.
Rogers County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Jerry Smittle said the increase in patrols will let everyone know that deputies are out there making contacts. Patrols among deputies will include eight and 12-hour shifts. 
The STOP Act grant was approved late last summer; however, Smittle said deputies were still able to accumulate more than 128 patrol hours at parks and lakes. 
“Back when, there was a federal grant that paid for a fulltime officer to patrol those places, but we don’t have that anymore. What we are able to do as part of the STOP Act program, is enable deputies to take turns patrolling areas around Oologah Lake, such as Hawthorn Bluff, Spencer Creek and Sunnyside Ramp near Talala, where there is a lot of activity during the summer,” Sheriff Scott Walton said.
Terri White, commissioner for the State Department of Mental Health, said Oklahoma currently ranks seventh in the nation for underage drinking. Approximately 68 deaths per year among young people are alcohol-related.
The STOP Act grant was awarded to the Rogers County organization Healthy Community Partnership in September 2013 to enhance cooperation and coordination on the issue of alcohol use among youth. The grant awards up to $50,000 per year for up to four years to domestic public and private nonprofit entities that are current or former Drug Free Communities Support Program grantees.
The STOP Act program aligns with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is offered as a companion grant to Drug Free Community grants.

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